Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.
“A spiritually of awareness, of choice, of risk, of transformation… is about the embrace of life, the pursuit of wholeness, the acceptance of others, the call to co-creation.” – Sister Joan Chittister, 21st-century Christian prophet
Prelude (piano solo)
Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)
Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests.
We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.
Altar Flowers (for the Glory of God)
Invocation “United Church of Christ Statement of Faith” (Robert V. Moss, adaptation; liturgist)
We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:
God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.
God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.
God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared through prophets and apostles.
In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the whole creation to its Creator.
God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.
God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.
God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.
Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God. Amen. (ucc)
Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)
Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives on altar)
Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)
We Rest in God’s Grace
Prayer and Silence (pastor)
Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.
Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)
Be still. (Breathe slowly)
Be. (Breathe slowly)
(Breathe in silence)
Assurance of Grace (pastor)
Dear Ones, let us collectively put down what we have carried that God is already carrying. It may be that we are cutting new trails while God waits for us at paved paths already provided.
Let us remember Jesus Christ’s invitation to still into compassion’s wisdom within and among – to shift focus from looping histories and favorite fantasies to be with God now as God does a New Thing among us, with us, for us. Let us fall, again, willingly open to God’s reforming grace. Amen.
Special Music (piano solo)
Scripture: Isaiah 43:15-21 (translation: NRSV; liturgist)
I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.
Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Message: “GOD’s New Thing” (pastor)
What no longer serves? WHERE is God and WHAT is God using to make a new way forward? What might we release to be open to God’s New Thing?
Special Music (piano solo)
Pastoral Prayer (pastor)
Holy One, what wonders You daily perform for all beings! We rejoice in Your innovative faithfulness and praise You! We also ask that You, O God, will continue to transform us – as individuals, families, communities, nations, and global neighbors. We ask this for our congregation, too, trusting You are indeed doing a “new thing” we cannot even imagine. Fill us with hope and excitement for what is coming! Amen.
Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)
Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.
Communion Song: “I Come with Joy” Chalice Hymnal #420 (musician; masks on, singing softly)
We Relocate Outside
Please transition outside, picking up individually wrapped Holy Communion elements.
We Celebrate Holy Communion
Prayer of Invitation (pastor)
In a strange way, this going outside for Holy Communion has literally kept us in physical transition as we return to in-person practices. This “new thing” is part of our pandemic style – to observe the ancient rite of Holy Communion AND to do it in a new way for the safety of one another.
Whenever we gather at The Lord’s Table we do so as a communion of souls – those physically present and those who gather in intention from earth and heaven. Let us now name those who are with us today… (say names out loud)
Consecration of Elements (pastor)
Let us pray:
Holy God – known to us as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit – we ask Your blessing upon this assembly and these elements. Fill us with Your presence that we might be receptive to the novel ways You are moving in our midst. Thank You. Amen.
Sharing the Elements
Jesus loved to reframe historic practices to focus upon the ever-inbreaking presence of God in this world among a specific household or community, in a specific place, in a specific moment. The Eternal Christ continues to engage us weaving together the past and the present, preparing us to be moved forward by God.
Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We receive this blessed bread with great appreciation and hope for what the Living Christ is calling forth. (eat bread)
After supper, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
We receive this sanctified cup with gratitude leaving behind what has been forgiven that we might be available for the new things the Living Christ is doing. (drink from cup)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Let us pray:
For the gift and grace of being on this surprising journey with You, Eternal Christ, and with these dear friends, we give thanks. We are grateful, too, for this mystical communion, a connection with dear ones throughout time and space. For what You continue to do and be, and for what You are calling forth, we give thanks, Beloved Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Ones, never underestimate the beauty and the power of God’s Big Love as it pluses among and through us. May God use us in new ways to do new things for God’s glory, for the uplift of our neighbors, and for the joy of our own precious souls. Truly, may we go forth with new hope and new peace. Amen.
Postlude (none because we are outside)
The service is concluded.
(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.
(jc) Joan Chittister, The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage. © 2019.
(ucc) United Church of Christ, https://www.ucc.org/what-we-believe/worship/statement-of-faith/
Two sermon resources from very current discussions about the call to change lead by God see:
(dz) Dr Dwight Zscheile, Luther Seminary webinar; 3/28/2022.
(jw) John Wimberly, https://www.congregationalconsulting.org/; 3/28/2022.
Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceded territory of the Lisjan- Ohlone people, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!
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Online Publishing Date: March 28, 2022.
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Donation: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: www.inthebiglove.com and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber